Arcadia hits major milestone: 2 GW of community solar

By Kiran Bhatraju, Founder and CEO
on January 9, 2024

Today, we’re proud to announce a major milestone on expanding clean energy access: We’ve successfully reached two gigawatts (2 GW) of community solar capacity!

When we started the business, community solar was limited to a few “gardens” in Colorado and Vermont. The growth since has been remarkable, making the sector one of the fastest-growing competitive energy trends in the US. Arcadia is now the nation's largest player in space — with capacity under management in 15 states.

Source: Arcadia first-party data. Numbers reflect total cumulative signed capacity as of EOY.

Why is community solar taking over?

At Arcadia, our passion for community solar runs deep. It’s a solution that adds cheaper, cleaner, more equitable energy to our existing power grid — and a product that customers, farmers, politicians, and even utilities can get behind. It’s simply one of the best options to decarbonize the grid. Let us count the ways:

1) Savings. Thanks to well-designed community solar programs, customers can receive anywhere from 5% to 10% or even sometimes 20% annual savings on their bill credits when enrolled on a local solar project. 

2) Equity and Access. About two-thirds of Americans will never get rooftop solar. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t — for instance, if they’re not a homeowner, don’t have a credit score over 700, or don’t have a flat, sunny roof. Community solar, on the other hand, is for everyone who pays a power bill — especially historically marginalized communities that have been left out of the transition. About 22% of our current customer base qualifies as low- or moderate-income, and with new incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act we expect that to grow significantly.

3) Scale and Speed. When it comes to the energy transition, we’re facing a national crisis. A utility-scale project that begins development today might be lucky to get energized by 2030. That’s just not good enough. Community solar is at the “distribution” level — with the utility you pay your bill with — allowing for faster approval, permitting, and deployment.

4) Resilience. A single solar roof can back up a home, while a community solar project can back up the entire neighborhood. If the transmission wires go down, these projects can still create power locally. Plus, many of our projects are adding battery storage to ensure power flows even when the sun doesn’t shine.

5) Simplicity. Our tech lets customers sign up with ease online and get a simple bill that tells them exactly what they're saving. And we pioneered an approach that requires no FICO checks or long-term contracts.

What is 2 GW, really?

2 GW of energy is, well… a lot of energy. It’s certainly more than enough to power Doc’s DeLorean in Back to the Future. (“1.21 gigawatts?!”) But in terms of real-world climate impact: 2 GW of solar is equivalent to preventing more than 2 billion pounds of coal from being burned to power the grid each year.

Who powered this momentum?

Here at Arcadia, we’re proud to play a key role. But the true heroes of the community solar revolution are our 70+ solar developer partners. 

These companies come in all sizes — from publicly traded to a few entrepreneurs — doing the work day in and day out to engage communities, find land, buy panels, raise capital, and install projects. Without our developer partners taking risks and doing the hard work to build, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do for customers. 

We’ll continue to engage policymakers and the broader ecosystem to support our developer customers in the coming years. Our recent partnership with American Farmland Trust is one example of the many innovative ways we’re bringing developers, policymakers, and communities together to promote more clean energy development. 

How do we accelerate the transition?

This milestone comes on the heels of our recently announced program with Google and EDPR NA DG to implement bill reductions for 25,000 low-income households. We’re working on more innovative new solutions like this one to bring the benefits of solar to as many folks as possible.

And now, we’re managing community solar capacity for projects representing 2 GW and counting. With our program, consumers across the nation can access solar's economic advantages and contribute to cleaner, local energy.

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